Monday, 22 August 2011

(My) nature abhors a vacuum

Hello God. It's me again and I'm in a funny mood.

Sunday afternoon and I've just spent an hour sorting through the girls' underwear drawers and marvelling at how much larger their feet are than I think they are. I pick up a pair of socks, think to myself, 'Those will still fit' only to find that they are way too small when it comes to comparing size with an actual four or six year old foot.  Likewise pants. Children get taller, feet get bigger and bottoms grow too, it seems. I don't think I've sorted out their underwear drawers since underwear became appropriate for them so it's no wonder that they've outgrown so much.

I'm sitting here looking at the sunny afternoon outside and any minute now I hope to locate a burst of energy and go and repot Mum's yucca plant that keeps blowing over in its current pot.  I shall then plant out forty-four poppy plants that I've grown from seed that are now big and strong enough to go and live in the garden ready to flower next year. I've done so little in the garden this summer that I think I'll do well to find enough weed-free areas to plant them out but we're away for a week soon and anything left in the greenhouse will have to fend for itself for a week so best evacuate while I can. 

I'm rambling, aren't I?  

Truth is, I'm not feeling very switched on today. I didn't get up early, it's been a pretty relaxing day so far but I'm still feeling tired and unmotivated to do anything. Except perhaps eat. That tells me a lot about my state of mind as eating is inextricably linked for me with emotions so if I'm eating too much or too much 'comfort food' then I know that all is not well in my head. 

I think that deep down I should be feeling joyful and exhilarated following Katy's surgery; she is happy and bouncing back in the way that only small children can.  As I type she's ricocheting round the house with an armful of teddies (all of whom are sporting a pair of pants that have been rescued from the 'too small' pile). She is smiley and her shoulder works and her wound is healing well and she's sleeping ok and she is as bright and affectionate as ever. Good job, then? Of course. 

So how come that the enormous space occupied by the worry I felt about Katy's operation seems still to be occupied by things that weigh me down?  It's as if the vacuum created by the relief of one sizeable worry was immediately filled by others, before I even had a chance to stretch out and feel the cool of an empty space. Nature abhors a vacuum, I'm told. Well, I can vouch for that. My nature certainly does. One worry to strike off the list?  Great! Let's find another one right now, before I get used to having the space in my head.

I suppose that's down to me then. Never satisfied.  One of my teachers once told me that I wouldn't be happy if I didn't have something to worry about. Maybe that's it. 

But I thought that I've been doing so much better, lately, haven't I, Lord?  I've really felt as if my anxiety levels are lower than they used to be. I've felt as if I've been better at leaving them with you. I'm reading my Bible more, reflecting on daily readings more, talking to you more. A bit. Admittedly there's a long way to go. 

Maybe I'm just tired. That old chestnut. I do feel as if I could sleep for a month at the moment. Everything seems an effort. I need to clean and bake and I need to stock up the freezer with cooked meals again and I need to start washing and packing for our holiday next week but it's all I can do to flop out of bed into the shower and get everybody fed. Whinge, whinge.

Pause here while I made coffee, ate several ginger snaps (I'm not even a great fan of ginger snaps) and repotted a yucca, feeling very grumpy.

Then you showed up again and stuck in your three-penneth. I realise that I do a good line in complaining, don't I? You've just done a wonderful thing for me in keeping my little girl safe and bringing her through an operation that seems to have gone well, and I have my family about me and all the good things that you've given me and exciting times ahead but all I can do is focus on me. Me, tired. Me, worried. Me, confused. Me, self-absorbed.


I'm reading things at the moment that are sticking in my mind but I need to think some more. I need to complain less, because I can't imagine that you're going to shower me with more blessings until I learn to appreciate the ones I already have, are you? That's how it works with my daughters. They play with a toy for five minutes, discard it and then badger for something new; I respond with irritation at their lack of gratitude. That sounds a lot like me. In the role of petulant child, I mean.

Also, I need to stop going on about how hard life is, don't I?  People have lives much harder than mine. People find out that their children have terminal illnesses and face a future full of illness and surgery and uncertainty. People have so much less than I do and yet perhaps are more satisfied than I am. I am starting to feel very bad about this. No-one said life was going to be easy, and no-one (particularly not my Mum and Dad) told me that life would be fair, so I should stop complaining about it being hard. As I did some reading tonight you told me:

'Now what I am commanding you today is not difficult or beyond your reach...'

Deuteronomy 30:11

So I should stop making heavy weather of things and get on with them. But before I turn over my new leaf, just got a bone to pick. I've often wrestled with Jesus' words:

'Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.'

Matthew 11:29-30

How come I find it such hard going then? How does the 'yoke is easy' bit sit with the other bits of the gospels where you tell us that we will have trouble in this world because of you? That we should put on our armour and fight? That we will meet much opposition and so on? I need to think about these things. I don't understand. And until I have thought about them and gained some considerable wisdom I need to stop complaining about life being hard. I think I make it so much harder than it need be sometimes because my brain is not my friend.

You have done marvellous things for me. You have saved me and you have blessed me and you have answered prayers. You never leave me. I'm so sorry, Lord.

As you can tell, I'm all mixed up at the moment. I'm not thinking straight. Do I ever? I need to find some peace, Lord. I need to focus again. Please help me to calm down and pick up life again after the hiatus of the last few months where I've been focussed on Katy and her lump and the surgery. I have things on my mind, yes, but it doesn't help that I can't seem to get my thoughts in order at the moment.

I would really like to get into a habit of spending quiet time with you. To find space to think clearly, to read and learn and write.

I would really like to learn how to listen to you. To hear you. To let you get a word in edgeways.

I would really like to hand over my troubles and leave them with you instead of picking them up again as I leave. Is this a life's work?

I would really like to be wise. I would like to get it right. I would like to be the person you would like me to be.

I need some help, please.

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